The Houseplant Bible
The Complete Houseplant Bible, by Peter McHoy (Lorenz Books), 2000, $19.90) is a really handy book. I use it to get ideas for displaying indoor plants, troubleshooting, specific propagating techniques, and methods of pruning. The book contains lots of color photographs and an excellent directory of houseplants. Any special care that a particular variety needs is listed so you can look like a master gardener to your friends! Plants are indexed by common or botanical names. There is even a section of "Fun Plants" that includes carnivores, leaves that bear babies, and sensitive plants.
Favorite or New Plant
Viburnums are among the most beautiful, versatile, and undemanding shrubs I know. In late spring or early summer they are bedecked with large, showy clusters of white, cream, or pink-tinged flowers. The flowers cover the shrubs from top to bottom for two or three weeks, and some cultivars offer a spicy, carnation-like fragrance. By late summer, shiny red, yellow, blue, or black berries festoon the plants, and remain colorful throughout the winter months.
Few shrubs can match viburnum's handsome, healthy leaves, which earn the plants a place in the landscape even when they're not in fruit or flower. Viburnum leaves range from shiny to felty, leathery to deeply-veined, and from the darkest green through rich medium green, to gray in color. As a bonus, the foliage of most deciduous viburnums turns brilliant yellow-orange to red-purple in the fall. Viburnums are small to large deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen shrubs, thrive in full sun or bright, open shade, and tolerate a wide range of soils.